It is now emerging that, because of legal requirements which have put them at a clear disadvantage, quite a number of Central Kenya constituencies have no option but to vote for the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 contained in the BBI report. Some of these constituencies include Ndaragua, Mukurweini, Othaya and Tetu among others.
According to the current constitution, a boundaries review process is supposed to be carried out a year before the general election. Since the Kenya Bureau of Statistics conducted a nationwide census in 2019, in the upcoming review, there will be no protection at all of some constituencies. The constitution caps the number of constituencies at 290, but the IEBC can review to either alter the name or boundaries of the existing constituencies.
During the last review, the population threshold was set at 133,000 people, a figure that is likely to go up given the expected increase in population.
Twenty-seven constituencies could be scrapped in the forthcoming boundaries review if they fail the population threshold set by the Constitution.
Afterwards, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will realign the borders of Kenya’s constituencies before 2021.
The law requires such a process to be conducted a year before the General Election.
This is the second review since 2010 by the Andrew Ligale-led boundary review commission.
An IEBC source said, “In the second review there is no protection at all. That means they will cease to exist.” The Constitution caps the number of constituencies at 290, but the IEBC can review to either alter the name or boundaries of the existing constituencies. For a constituency to maintain its status, the population must be greater or lesser than the quota by either 40 per cent for cities and sparsely populated areas and 30 per cent for other areas.
However, with the changes proposed in the BBI report, an additional 70 constituencies will be created. The underpopulated constituencies will also be protected, and won’t be scrapped away.